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Comment: Re:"Knowledge-based" questions are really bad (Score 1) 322

by ShaunC (#49377159) Attached to: Sign Up At irs.gov Before Crooks Do It For You

I've had to interact with a few services that use questions like this for authentication. Invariably, they ask things about me that even I don't know. "What was your monthly payment on the auto financed through GMAC in 1995?" With three close choices like $261.17, $263.41, and $264.28, so I can't ballpark it. Do people really keep records for a car they paid off 15 years ago?

Comment: Problem solved! (Score 1) 158

by ShaunC (#49361201) Attached to: UK Licensing Site Requires MSIE Emulation, But Won't Work With MSIE

They appear to have fixed the problem by taking the entire application offline. Brill[i]ant!

This site is undergoing scheduled maintenance.

Our licensing site will be unavailable every weekend in March while we upgrade our systems. Affected services will include:

        The online elements of our licence application process
        The application status checker
        The company licence checker
        The batch application tracker

Transportation

Chevy Malibu 'Teen Driver' Tech Will Snitch If You Speed 224

Posted by timothy
from the no-problem-for-ferris-bueller dept.
mpicpp writes General Motors wants to help curb teen crashes with a new system that lets parents monitor their kids' driving habits—even when mom and dad aren't actually in the car. Dubbed Teen Drive, the new system will debut in the 2016 Chevy Malibu, offering a bunch of features designed to encourage safe driving. It will, for instance, mute the radio or any device paired with the car when front seat occupants aren't wearing their seatbelts, and give audible and visual warnings when the vehicle is traveling faster than preset speeds. It doesn't end there. Brace yourself, teens, because you might not like this next part too much. The new system also lets parents view a readout of how you drove the car, including how fast you went, how far you drove, and whether any active safety features (like over-speed warnings) were engaged. Parents can also set the radio system's maximum volume to a lower level, and select a maximum speed between 40 and 75 miles per hour, which, if exceeded, will trigger warnings.

Comment: Re:Run your own equipment (Score 1) 96

If you don't have to go through the trouble of having someone come into your house, install a modem and router, and you can just "get it off the neighbor that has it", what are you going to do when everyone decides they'll just "get it off th neighbor?

I don't see that as a likely scenario. For one, most people who sign up for cable modem service are going to do whatever the nice people at Comcast say to do, which is why these "xfinitywifi" spectrum-blasting hotspots are showing up in the first place. And the users who are a bit tech savvy are damned sure going to want their own cable modem and router (whether it belongs to them or they rent it from Comcast) in their own home, to ensure they get the best speed possible.

Technical support forums all over the web are full of people bitching, whining, and moaning that they don't get satisfactory speeds from the CPE installed in their own home. Do you think everyone is going to order service but decline the equipment, with some master plan to use the neighbor's signal that's even weaker than what a router in their own home could provide?

Comment: Re:Will DMCA requests affect this? (Score 1) 139

by ShaunC (#49288975) Attached to: Google 'Experts' To Screen Android Apps For Banned Content

Apps in the Play Store have always been subject to DMCA takedowns, along with the shenanigans DMCA makes possible. The "legitimate apps being held hostage" scenario already happens. For example, someone ripped off the Camfrog app, then filed a false DMCA complaint alleging that the real Camfrog app was infringing. Camfrog appealed the DMCA notice, and Google responded by taking down the real app for a day or two.

Comment: Re:3.4 mill? (Score 4, Informative) 65

by ShaunC (#49288507) Attached to: Feds Fine Verizon $3.4 Million Over 911 Service Outage Issues

In fact it might have. Reporting the issue immediately would have given the affected emergency services a chance to get the message out via television, radio, Facebook/Twitter/etc. and use the opportunity to remind the public of the non-emergency numbers. A few days ago my local PD's domestic violence hotline had some kind of outage, and a temporary backup number was all over the news right away. A 911 outage would affect a lot more people, and the sooner they know to put out the info, the better.

Comment: Sounds reasonable to me (Score 2) 334

Radar and laser don't apply to me if I'm speeding. Right? Oh.

FCC rules don't apply to me using interesting hardware to intercept cellphone traffic. Right? Oh.

Regulations don't apply to me if I want to sell firearms to people in Mexico. Right? Oh.

Yep, this seems par for the course. We peasants can go fuck ourselves while the ruling class does what they please. I mean we can't expect them to reveal the horrific things that are going on to protect corporate trade secrets. Sheesh.

Comment: My government at work (Score 5, Informative) 50

by ShaunC (#49271371) Attached to: ICE Tells Reporter Its Secretive Drone Program Isn't Newsworthy

Of course it isn't newsworthy. Give it a decade. Once the entirety of the story has long since blown over, then they'll issue their official response.

A few months ago, the Treasury Department sent us 237 pages in its latest response to our requests regarding Iran trade sanctions. Nearly all 237 pages were completely blacked out, on the basis that they contained businesses' trade secrets. When was our request? Nine years ago.

That's how the government operates now. Just when you've completely forgotten about your FOIA request, they'll finally respond with hundreds of pages of fully redacted content, because they can't endanger old corporate trade secrets. What an excuse. They don't even bother playing the National Security card anymore, they straight up admit that business trumps all.

Sorry, can't give you any insight into how the government operates, it might jeopardize corporate profits!

Comment: Re:Par for the course (Score 1) 140

I think it's worth mentioning that Google didn't necessarily want to go public, they were forced to do so in 2004 because they had a certain valuation and a certain number of shareholders. 10 or 11 years ago, I really believe that "don't be evil" was part of Google's culture. Once they were wedged into becoming a publicly traded company, all bets were off. Shareholder profits uber alles.

Comment: Re:Leak? (Score 4, Insightful) 42

by ShaunC (#49253235) Attached to: Google Error Leaks Website Owners' Personal Information

But seeing how domain names are often treated like property, i'm not sure why it isn't expected to be treated a lot like property.

Maybe I'm reading you wrong, but my understanding is you feel that a domain owner's personal information should be clearly available in WHOIS. I disagree.

If you as the owner of a domain are party to a court case involving that domain, whether due to your operation of a business using that domain or for any other cause of action, your ownership will become public record during the legal proceedings, regardless of your domain registration preferences. It's not as if WHOIS privacy protection somehow makes the registered owner truly anonymous.

Do you drive a car? If so, I presume it displays a license plate. The license plate doesn't contain your name, your address, your phone number, or any other personally identifying information (unless perhaps you've volunteered the info by registering a vanity tag). Suppose one day you do something in traffic which another driver perceives as an asshole move, and they become enraged. Like, "I want to kill that person" enraged. They can't just go home and type `whois [your tag]` and get all of your personal information. That's a good thing, right?

If you've committed a crime, the police have access to that data and are able to unmask you in order to enforce the law. But Joe Random, who has become upset at you for some reason and wishes to do you harm, isn't readily able to derive your personal information from your car's license plate. Why should your domain name be any different? If you make a post on your blog that offends someone, should that person be able to look up your full name and address and do who-knows-what?

Comment: Re:Par for the course (Score 1) 140

At the end of the day, that's really all that matters in business: are you in the black, able to pay your salaries and expenses, and perhaps generating a profit?

Maybe that applies to the Japanese conglomerates you speak of. For publicly traded American companies, what really matters in business is: are you extracting every last possible penny of revenue, actively slashing your salaries and expenses each successive quarter, and maximizing profit as much as possible?

Comment: Re:Is it sad that it is old hat (Score 4, Interesting) 224

by ShaunC (#49238167) Attached to: California Looking To Make All Bitcoin Businesses Illegal

Yes, it's sadly common. Ask anyone who owns a strip club or an adult bookstore or a pawn shop, or even a bar in some places. The government doesn't usually make them illegal outright*; instead, they make them regulated. Then they draft regulations stating that those businesses can only operate in a certain zone of town. Oh, and you need a license, but it's going to run you half a million dollars, and they'll only grant one license every 10 years, or one license per 250,000 citizens (in a town of 30,000), or some other hurdle that's insurmountable enough so as to make your business effectively illegal.

Your second point reminds me of the marijuana tax stamps that are still law in 20 or so states. You incriminate yourself just by asking to buy the stamp in the first place.

*Because then the mayor couldn't accept an enormous campaign contribution in exchange for issuing a special license now and then.

Time-sharing is the junk-mail part of the computer business. -- H.R.J. Grosch (attributed)

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